Sept. 17 is recognized in the United States as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The purpose of this day is to commemorate the creation and signing of the supreme law of the land and to honor and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship for both native-born and naturalized citizens. Federal law requires that all schools receiving federal funds hold an educational program for their students on Constitution Day each year. In addition, judges are encouraged to make statements from the bench about the importance of understanding and appreciating the nation's founding document, and lawyers are encouraged to present information to student and community groups. This site provides links to resources designed to help in the presentation of Constitution Day concepts.
LESSON PLANS & ACTIVITIES
ABA Division for Public Education
Offers lesson plans, interactive games, conversation starters and information on landmark Supreme Court cases.
Also offers pocket guides to the Constitution on sale for $1.50 each.
American Board of Trial Advocates Foundation
Provides free lesson plans for teachers through its online website Justice by the People.
Apples 4 the Teacher
Provides classroom activities such as printable coloring pages, book reviews, word jumbles and word searches.
Center for Civic Education
Offers lesson plans, teacher training and information about community-based civics programs.
Civics Renewal Network
A partnership of 26 organizations dedicated to increasing the quality of civics education in the schools and improving accessibility to high-quality, no-cost learning materials. Resources are searchable by subject, grade, type, standards and teaching strategy.
Offers lesson plans and other resources.
Constitution Facts’ Fun Zone
Offers crossword puzzles, quizzes, treasure hunts and word finds.
Constitutional Rights Foundation
Provides lesson plans for teachers and civics, law and government programs for students.
Federal Judicial Center
Provides curriculum for teaching judicial history.
Jack Miller Center for Teaching America's Founding Principles and History
Provides resources for Constitution Day on college campuses across the coutry
Provides lesson plans by era, activities and ready-to-use classroom tools on its website.
National Constitution Center
Offers lesson plans and other resources.
Read the Constitution
Offers the full text of the U.S. Constitution divided into the preamble, the seven articles and the Bill of Rights.
Share My Lesson
Offers lesson plans, searchable by grade level, from the Center for Civic Education.
A number of applications designed for use on mobile devises are available to help young people understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Download them at the links below:
The U.S. Senate, Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office (GPO) have launched a new free service called Constitution Annotated, which allows users to access the nation’s founding document as well as modern analysis and interpretation of constitutional law, and analysis of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, by the Congressional Research Service and the Library of Congress. The service will be updated multiple times a year as new court decisions are issued. Visit the GPO site or the Library of Congress site for an online version or download the mobile app from iTunes. An Android version is under development.
Search the U.S. Constitution, Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation and more on this app from Google Play.
Oyez Today's Pocket Justice
Get the latest information and media on the current Supreme Court including searchable audio of oral arguments and transcripts.
Member Guide for the 113th Congress
The Government Printing Office has unveiled a member guide for the 113th Congress, which features pictures, party affiliation and biographical data about members of the U.S. House and Senate. Users can browse members of Congress by last name, state, chamber or party. Visit the site online or download the mobile app. The site also offers a downloadable pdf pictorial directory of the members.
Follow news, Twitter feeds and decisions made by members of Congress.
Test your civic knowledge with flash cards and practice quizzes used by many to prepare for the U.S. naturalization test.
White House Resources
White House Mobile App
Get news from White House blog and press briefing room.
CIVIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS FROM THE TBA
The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) also offers a variety of programs for elementary, middle and high school students that expose young people to concepts about the law and living in a society governed by the rule of law. The programs include:
Lipscomb University Law Camp – The TBA Public Education Committee works closely with Lipscomb University in Nashville to provide a weeklong residential Law Camp during the summer for high school students from across the country. Students learn about various aspects of the legal profession during their time on campus. The experience offers networking opportunities with attorneys, lobbyists, elected officials, law enforcement and corporate executives; an opportunity to explore sports and entertainment law, healthcare law, social justice issues, the court system and the legislative process; and a chance to develop legal skills through a mock case. But it is not all work! Recreational activities include social events and outings to Nashville attractions.
Mock Trial – The Tennessee High School Mock Trial Competition provides high school students an opportunity to learn about the law, court procedures and legal system. Each year, the TBA develops a fictional case in which students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses. The case and competition rules are distributed in November. Schools and other youth organizations form teams to compete in local district competitions that take place in February. The winners of the district contests then advance to the state competition, which takes place each March. TBA volunteers organize, host and score the state competition. There are 13 districts in the state, each of which are organized by a local coordinator, who sets the dates for the event and serves as a resource for teams.
OTHER CIVICS PROGRAMS
iCivics – iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by providing free and innovative educational materials. The program, founded by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, offers 16 educational video games as well as teaching materials that have been used in classrooms in all 50 states. It is the nation's most comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum available for free on the web. In Tennessee, the TBA has partnered with program leadership to provide awareness and training about iCivics to teachers in the state.
Youth Court – We all make mistakes. The challenge is how to take those mistakes and turn them into opportunities for growth and personal development. Youth Courts provide that opportunity. In Tennessee, Youth Courts hear juvenile cases involving assault, burglary, vandalism, forgery, cruelty to animals, harassment, unauthorized use of a vehicle, disorderly conduct, runaway, violation of curfew, truancy, disorderly conduct, some traffic offenses and criminal trespass. Each court typically handles cases involving young people, ages 11 to 17, who are first-time offenders. For the youth who volunteer to serve on the court, the program educates them about the role of law in our democracy. They also learn about court procedures, sentencing options, trial techniques, structure of the justice system, the meaning of justice, and the relationship between rights and responsibilities.